But when you need a little space, how can you make them go away without hurting anyone's feelings? Here are some tips on how to bow out gracefully, from Shelly Charvet (shar-VEY), author of Words That Change Minds:

  • First, if you're stuck on the phone with a friend when you'd rather be cuddling with you kids, try this: Give them two compliments, and an excuse to cut the conversation short--Like, "That was hilarious--Thanks for sharing. Gotta hit the grocery store before it closes." Why does it work? The 2 compliments provide double positive reinforcement, leaving your friend feeling good as they hang up. But make sure you don't start your final comment with "but". Like, "Glad you called, it was great to catch up, but I've gotta go feed the kids." That ends the conversation on a negative note, and will make both of you feel down as you hang up the phone.
  • Next, if you want your dinner guests to go, but don't want to come right out and say it, try this: Put your hands on the table in front of you, palms down, fingers together, and lean forward slightly. Your guests will subconsciously decide you're about to get up, and the gathering is over. The next words out of their mouth will probably be, "I guess it's time to run along."
  • And the final way to bow out gracefully is to be honest. If a friend drops by unannounced when you're trying to relax, you have 2 options: You can say you need some time to do and say nothing, and ask if you can get together another time. Or you can be silent together.

If you'd like to go further, the book is called Words That Change Minds by Shelly Charvet.